Imagine would you kindly a place. Not just any place like a stereotypical land or plain or desert. Imagine not a simple place, but a world.
A world with a molten core surrounded by a great thick crust dotted with deep blue oceans and vast sprawling oceans, crawling with life and organisms. Imagine this world has a sun brighter than any sun you could picture and a moon of silver and grey as if crafted by the rough hands of a silversmith. Imagine this world surrounded by stars aglow, galaxies swirling to form a pattern of alien construct and the void of an inky blackness beyond our mere human grasp of our vast imaginations and ideas.
This world is much like ours, yet is somehow not. Like looking a picture taking by two different types of cameras, at two differing angles and two different dimensions. Both the same, yet amazingly different to the eye of a man. There are oceans as deep and blue as the ones we have, forests as tall and vast like the forests we have; maybe even there are jungles of steam and vine.
There is a warm blue sky and a cold black night like the ones we have lived through and seen by us within the longevity of our lives.
There are cities and towns stretching from a coast where it meets the foaming oceans to the mountains ripping tears into the grey wisps of sky and cold atmosphere. Cities with towering buildings dotted with the hum of a neon color and glowing lights of the steel streetlamps illuminating a street of people in either fancy cocktail dresses and tuxedos of fine silk or rags of leather strips and dirty shoes held by strings and cheap adhesive. Music that you can’t put your finger on echoes from somewhere in the depths of an alley or a high-rise piercing the moonlight. Maybe the music is jazz. Maybe swing. A starting piece of some classic big band or orchestra? No…but you have heard it before. Maybe it will come to you, a thought cries from your head, it will have to come to you.
This world, you are imaging using our human perception of place and sense, holds…”things”. Fantastical things. Things only a man can dredge up from the deepest lines of his imagination.
Treasures of gold and silver line the richest halls and galas of manor and mansions. Money flows throughout extravagant casinos where waitress and waiter attend to a crowded blackjack table or a bar lined with strange, exotic spirits and well-dressed, yet suspicious men grasping shot glasses or fading playing cards amid the clatter and clinking of bar glasses and that still strange music. Grand museums and galas holding art and writings from the mind of artists and scholars most brilliant.
Sports like, for say, wrestling are held in mass arenas and concrete domes, where those who come to watch grasping the edge of their seats, eyes open and mouths agape like witnessing some unknown, alien pleasure that one imagined they simply could not imagine or those who sit in backrooms with bills and coin shoved into bulging wallets sit at tables and smoke cigars while listening to hissing radio reports of a match or event. Cathedrals made of stone and glass fill weekly with religious folk or those seeking a way to be clean of past sins, mortal or simple.
Fantastical beings roam this planet. From most curious fish-people living in a Chinatown-esque lot surrounded by high tides, docks and oceans deep and blue to even the simplest bird or snake you find in a tree or a hole in your backyard. Humans live there too, I can heavily assure of such a fact.
Science, as you know, is only limited to simple robotics or some other thought that we consider grand, is here expanded beyond our own beliefs. The sick and weak can be healed within days by extreme advances in medical sciences. The injured or the most wounded can be given a second chance by use of seemingly impossible machinery or creations that seemingly defy all things possible and impossible.
Ruling over these vast continents is a royal family, a monarchy. The most current one is a fine woman and her little sister. The older one is, and by quote, “as smart as she is beautiful” and the little sister is “as cute as she is wild”. The parents of these two, the once king and queen, are…well…passed. I wish to spare the details and I may hope you do too.
Now, and as I say this I pray that I may never speak of this as much as I have to, there are…other things, I am most afraid. As man’s imagination holds wondrous things like science and art, we also hold more.
Things that make us sick.
Things that make us whimper and shiver by simple echo or word. Those things that only that we consider the twisted scum of the earth can sit in a room laughing and howling madly at, almost like they were told some alien joke with a punchline even more twisted.
If you peel back the glamour and dazzles of a city, you find a rotten core of corruption and evils that will drive you, and God help you, into the verge of madness. As I warned, only those who can at least attempt to look at what they may find will only stutter and shiver at what their eyes will glance upon.
A war. A war unlike any war your simple human mind can hold together. Envision a world plagued by a grand war with weapons that you have never seen and bloodshed forming and breaking groups. Cities and countries become ancient memory under bombing strikes and blitzes of flame, gas and mortar round. And who, I ask to myself and you as well, that others didn't suffer the same fates?
People, my friend. The innocent, the cruel, the sick, the weak, the poor, the rich, the clean, the filthy. All killed or round up like fat cattle or skinny horses to be sold as such for money or food. Entire groups of people lost all moral or sense as the war ended in their ruined little lives. No more could you buy food from a neighbor or grocer. You got what you got through the hands of yourself or the hands of a hired man. Crime, famine and madness spread like a damned disease.
Good people, some children, butchered or captured by the power-hungry or those teetering on the verge of madness.
But out of all the sick-minded and disturbed pack of slavers and murders rose something far more greater and dangerous. The name of the group I cannot tell you as I fear mere mentioning them could lead to my or your untimely fate. They were civilized, or at least beyond the madness of others one would say and had a strong grip on most business and had folks with in and out their “services”. I hope you never find out their services firsthand.
They had major wealth and infamous glory among a population of hundreds. Good parts of a city belong to them, guarded by people who resemble those out in the slums in alleys or warehouse holding guns to your head or a knife to your throat. They even have a public entertainment sponsored by them in secret. A fair or circus or some other odd public event.
Many have lived by the name and many have died by the name. I can only ask you pray you end up the latter. If you don’t…well…I’m sure you have more pressing matters of thought, hmm?
Above it all, as even the most good folk know, something much more horrible plagues the land. An artifact from what I gathered of sorts. Said to be a cross betwixt a skull and a human heart. God (or at least Goddess from what they worship) knows what or why it is.
Rumor is that it grant wishes. Anything your heart desires brought to reality like a dream or a needless want. But, there is a catch. Only women can perform the annual ritual. And another catch, as with all things I shall say, is if your heart is foul and wretched with sin, you become something…something…unimaginable.
Imagine a monster. Now picture that monster as someone you love like a mother or aunt or sister.
Isn’t it a lovely picture? This…oddity or spawn of some grand evil…has taken hundreds of lives, innocent or foul.
They are trying to stop the cycle of new generations of this monster, of course. As you recall, they have sciences unlike anything you have dared to see. Why not use those to stop the beast? To kill it, drive needles through its heart and salt the earth where it is buried?
Government projects and groups were formed by the top scientists and leading geniuses ever known. Weapons are forged, plans are thought up and soldiers are bred to hunt and slay this ancient horror and stop the nightmare.
But, just know this world has secrets. Dark and horrible secrets. Other…things…have been seen in the streets at night, howling and screeching. People vanish weekly from clubs and churches and the bodies found mutilated and scarred as if by some great horror or lunatic. I invite you to research these, but I fear you too may become like one of…one of…them…
Now, the ritual of a seven year time has begun again. Women and other folk head to seek this new and strange artifact. Each has their own motives to drive them and fuel their desires. Some are good, some are…are…well, as stated this world has some secrets it cannot be released.
Now, I expect you my friend wish to find out what is going on too. To unearth this weird and fantastical place despite the horror and mystery that plague it. To try and carve a new life for yourself and forge a destiny and fate that you can control.
Now, before I leave you, I must part with one final answer. Where exactly is this place? What is going on? How can I locate such a place?
My dear friend, the answer lies in front of you, but you just can’t see it. Or maybe you don’t wish to see it…
Now, I bid you good luck in your travels to the Canopy Kingdom. May you live to prosper and grow like the others.